Sunday, April 03, 2011

Govt gives Green light to import and print the Bible locally in all languages

Never before since the racial riots in 1969 has racial tension been more severe than now in Malaysia. The most recent issue is on the import of the Bible in the local Malay language.

A shipment of 30,000 copies of the Bible in Kuching and another 5,100 copies in Port Klang (West Malaysia) were on hold and eventually approved to be released. This was only possible on requirement of them being serialised and stamped "For Christians Only" before they could be released through Customs. After protests by Christian bodies, serialisation was dropped leaving just the stamp. This was viewed by Christians as a defacement of the holy book.

After a dialogue with Christian groups to look into specific requests on the Bahasa Malaysia/Indonesia Bible and also other religious issues and taking into account the polarity of views of the different religious groups, including the Muslims, the Government decided to give the green light for the import and printing of the Bible locally in all languages. A 10-point solution was drawn up to resolve the dispute which was very well-received.

A step in the right direction of racial harmony and religious freedom in a democracy, I should say. Afterall, Malaysia is a secular country according to the Constitution.

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